This weekend was supposed to be when Franklin Graham came to Sheffield Arena to preach the gospel. Some of us from our church had been planning to attend as counsellors; many of us had been praying for people to come to know Jesus as Saviour at this event.
Even before lockdown, there were difficulties over the Franklin Graham tour as the venues decided they did not want to host the events. Then, in March, all such public events were cancelled as lockdown was imposed. All our plans have been drastically altered and at the moment, no one is quite sure when large gatherings will be allowed again.
It can be difficult to adapt to altered plans. All of us have experienced this in recent weeks as we’ve made arrangements to cancel or amend holidays, had to celebrate birthdays alone and live in ways we could barely have imagined at the turn of the year. This creates feelings of frustration, disappointment and loss in us, and it’s easy to become resentful or bitter about the changes.
The Bible says, however, ‘the plans of the Lord stand firm together, the purposes of His heart through all generations.’ (Ps 33:11) Our plans may be changed and thwarted, but God’s plans are not: ‘many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ (Prov 19:21) I’m sure Franklin Graham and his team have been exceedingly frustrated at the change to their plans, but we can be confident that none of God’s purposes can be thwarted. (Job 42:2) We may well be experiencing personal frustration and bitter disappointment right now, but even when we do not understand why, we rest in God’s promise that His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Jer 29:11) God’s plans and purposes can be trusted. We know that God is continuing to work in our communities and nation and world at this time; people are becoming Christians even in lockdown (read this testimony here.) Our prayer is still ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matt 6:10), even when our plans have to change.